PGA Tour Creates New Tiger Woods Exemption Category

According to a memo sent out to members on Tuesday night, the PGA Tour is recognizing Woods for his "exceptional lifetime achievement" in golf

Tiger Woods during the second round of the PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour has created a special exemption category exclusively for Tiger Woods which will allow the 15-time Major champion to play in all Signature Events from next season.

Woods has only played in nine competitive tournaments over the past three seasons following his serious car crash in February 2021, seven of which have been Majors. The other two starts were both at the Genesis Invitational - a Signature Event which the American hosts and benefits his foundation.

The 82-time PGA Tour winner withdrew from the 2024 Genesis early in round two due to illness, and he also struggled in his other three starts this term - finish 60th at The Masters and missing the cut at both the PGA Championship and the recent US Open.

It is almost impossible for Woods to qualify for any of the other seven Signature tournaments due to not playing competitive golf often enough, but the PGA Tour recognize Woods' extraordinary allure and opted to approve a special exemption category while meeting with the PGA Tour Enterprises board earlier this week.

In a memo sent out to all PGA Tour members on Tuesday night, it was explained that Woods has reached "an exceptional lifetime achievement threshold of 80+ career wins" and would be rewarded by being offered a spot at each of the Signature Events from next season onwards.

Tiger Woods takes a shot in the first round of the US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the memo, the PGA Tour said: "An additional sponsor exemption will be created to recognize Tiger Woods in his own category as a player who has reached an exceptional lifetime achievement threshold of 80+ career wins."

The eight Signature Events in the 2024 PGA Tour campaign included The Sentry, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the RBC Heritage, the Wells Fargo Championship, the Memorial Tournament, and the upcoming Travelers Championship.

They all featured 72-player fields who were competing for $20 million purses and increased FedEx Cup points, while five of the tournaments included no halfway cut.

Elsewhere in the PGA Tour memo, commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed that the policy board was considering introducing a cut at all Signature Events as well as ensuring that the fields were always full via alternate lists. The final Signature tournament of 2024 will include only 71 players after Rory McIlroy's withdrawal following his US Open collapse.

Rory McIlroy looks on during the US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both McIlroy and Woods are set to tee it up at The Open Championship in Scotland next month, however, with the 48-year-old stating after the US Open at Pinehurst No.2 that he would only be playing one more competitive round this season.

Having previously said that he was aiming to appear at one tournament a month in 2024, Woods was asked whether playing a little more frequently in future might help his results improve. However, the 15-time Major champion rejected that idea - at least for the time being.

He said: "I've only got one more tournament this season. Even if I win the British Open [at Royal Troon], I don't think I'll be in the [FedEx Cup] playoffs. Just one more event and then I'll come back whenever I come back."

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. During his time with Golf Monthly, Jonny has interviewed several stars of the game, including Robert MacIntyre, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. An improving golfer himself, Jonny enjoys learning as much about the game as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Open Championships and dreams of attending The Masters one day.